Utrecht rat population getting out of hand

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Complaints are growing about the expanding rat population in and around Utrecht. As common as these critters have always been, it is only until recently that a possible infestation is manifesting.

According to regional pest controllers, there could possibly be more rats than people inhabiting the city at this very moment. That’s quite a disturbing notion considering their history of causing the bubonic plague epidemics of the past.

“Rats have always been there,” according to Paul Baltus of the Dom Square Foundation. By there, he means the lairs underneath the Dom where most of the city’s rats are believed to be taking shelter. “But that is not the cause of their existence,” he said.

The most likely scenario to the recent widespread sightings of these beasts is believed to be directly related to the excavation work that has been going on around the area. Old sewers are being replaced and a lot of digging work is going on; the rats are becoming displaced and are starting to enter homes through the various nooks and crannies.

Spokespeople of the Animal Protection unit in Utrecht said the rats should not be tackled using poising traps. Poison traps attract more than just rats and that costs the lives of more innocent creatures like hedgehogs and squirrels. They believe the answer lies in the attitude of the city inhabitants who have the tendency to throw unfinished food on the floor.

The fact is, for every rat killed, there are several more on the way so extermination is not the best solution. Isolation is more likely to prevent them from inhabiting underground areas below housing structures where the air is warm and damp; an ideal rat breeding ground.

The town hall and inhabitants of the city will begin talks on Thursday to discuss how they are to combat this issue.

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Michael Darmanin

Michael is founder and managing editor of Utrecht Central. He graduated in Communications and Media at the Hogeschool Utrecht in the summer of 2012. He specializes in Web Development, Content Management and Online Marketing. Interested in co-operation? We are open to all kinds of suggestions. Contact us!

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